Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 16.djvu/732

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

"Physiology of Common Life"—but none of them have approached the perfection of the original. Johnston was led to prepare it by his pioneer studies in agricultural chemistry, which not only familiarized him with all common subjects, but, what was of far more importance, gave him a sympathetic interest in the common people. No mere passionate experimenter or laboratory devotee could ever have produced such a work. Great changes have come over the field of chemical science during the last quarter of a century, but they have affected this work much less than more theoretical treatises, as facts change less than their interpretations. Nevertheless, the book had fallen behind the age, and needed to be brought up to date. The entire work has been carefully revised by Professor Church, somewhat enlarged, and brought down to the latest date. Some new matter, aside from that necessary to embody the latest knowledge, has been added by the editor, the most important of which is the article upon "The Colors we admire." The book is written for the people, in a clear and popular manner, without technicalities, and seeks to answer questions that commonly arise in every-day life about every-day things. It treats such things as the air we breathe and the water we drink in their relations to human life and health; the soil that we cultivate and the plants raised; the food we eat and beverages we drink; the odors that are agreeable and disagreeable, and the reasons why they are so; the colors that stand in like relation to us; the physiological processes of the body, and the condition of health. It answers, in fact, a thousand and one questions which all ought to know, but which they do not, and will be found a valuable addition to the library of every household.

Astronomy. For Schools and Colleges. By Simon Newcomb, LL. D., Superintendent of "American Ephemeris and Nautical Almanac," and Edward S. Holden, M. A., Professor in the United States Naval Observatory. New York: Henry Holt & Co. Pp. 512. Price, $2.50.

The presumptions in favor of this work, which are created by the names of its authors, are abundantly justified by its critical examination. It may be commended as in every respect a first-class astronomical textbook for college students. The authors say in their preface that "the work is designed principally for the use of those who desire to pursue the study of astronomy as a branch of liberal education." Yet its plan is such that it may subserve the uses of different grades of students, and those having in view quite different objects. The subject-matter is divided into two classes, distinguished by the size of the type. The portions in large type form a complete course for the use of those who desire only such a general knowledge of the subject as can be acquired without the application of advanced mathematics. This is the part that will interest the general reader. The portions in small type comprise additions for the use of those students who either desire a more detailed and precise knowledge of the subject, or who intend to make astronomy a special study. The work is copiously illustrated, is written with great clearness, and its explanations are admirable.

Progress and Poverty. An Inquiry into the Cause of Industrial Depressions, and of Increase of Want with Increasing Wealth; the Remedy. By Henry George. One Volume. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1880. Pp. 512. Price, $2.

In the previous pages of this Monthly the reader will find an article on the "Study of Political Economy" that will be pretty certain to interest him. He will see that this so-called "dismal science" is capable of being presented in an attractive way. But after looking it over with satisfaction, as he will be sure to do, he may still say: "This man puts the subject very pleasantly in a lecture, but where are the treatises which can realize for us the interest of treatment here promised? All the books I have yet found on this topic are very prosy affairs."

Well, the author of this essay has himself made a book on political economy, so that he can be tried by his own test. He has made a pretty big book too (although it is not expensive), and, whatever may be its faults, dryness and dullness are not among them. It is full of vital thought, and is written with earnestness and power. We might say it is the most engaging book